U.S. priciest for doctors, drugs, hospital

March 26, 2013 at 8:57 PM
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LONDON, March 26 (UPI) -- A U.S. woman pays $7,200-$16,600 for a normal birth -- the highest in the world -- while an Australian woman pays $6,800, a group of global health insurers say.

The report, by the International Federation of Health Plans, a group of more than 100 member health insurance companies in 25 countries, found the price of a U.S. Cesarean section in 2012 was $10,500-$26,000, while the next highest was Australia at about $10,000, with the least expensive county Argentina at $1,500, the report said. The report analyzed the prices of 12 countries.

A routine office visit of a U.S. physician cost $68-$178, compared with $30 in Canada, $25 in South Africa and $10 in Argentina, while a day in a U.S. hospital costs $1,500-$12,500, but in Australia it costs about $1,500, $730 in the Netherlands, $660 in South Africa and $420 in Argentina, the report said.

Nexium, a common drug to treat acid reflux, costs $187-$373 in the United States, while in the Netherlands it costs $72, $32 in the United Kingdom, $21 in Argentina and $16 in Spain, the report said.

Healthcare prices for Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom were paid from the public sector and one health plan in each country, while prices for Australia, Chile, the Netherlands, Spain and South Africa were from the private sector and represent prices paid by one private health plan in each country.

Prices for France and Argentina were a blend of public and private sector with the data provided by one health plan in each country.

U.S. prices were calculated from a database of more than 100 million paid claims that reflect prices negotiated between thousands of providers and almost 100 hundred health plans.

The report can be found at www.ifhp.com/documents/2012iFHPPriceReportFINALMarch25.pdf.

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